Sunday 28 July 2019

The Common Sense in Technicality

I was thinking this morning..... about the common sense in technicalities. In the last couple of weeks, the video clip of the senate confirmation hearing of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad where he struggled to explain the concept of 'legal technicality' had gone viral. The Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe had asked Tanko if he thought it made legal and moral sense to pervert the merit of cases before the Supreme Court on the basis of 'mere technicality.' Tanko had given a shocking response, saying 'Now, if something which is technical comes before the court, what we do in trial courts is to ask people who are experts in that field to come and testify. We rely on their testimony because they are experts in that field. Ask me anything about an aeroplane, I don’t know. Ask me to drive [sic] an aeroplane, I am sure if you are a passenger and they told you that the flight is going to be driven [sic] by Honourable Justice Ibrahim Tanko, I am sure you will get out of the plane because it is something that requires technicality and if I have any technicality, my technicality will only be limited to law.' Wow!

When people shouted, incompetence, mediocrity, witlessness, I struggled to understand where they are coming from. To help my case, I went back to read the judgement that Abaribe cited in his question to the CJN. The 2018 case of Akeredolu vs Abraham, where the Supreme Court had said, ‘technicality in the administration of justice shuts out justice.’ is therefore better to have a case heard and determined on its merit than to leave the court with the shield of victory obtained on mere technicality.' Still I did not understand the issue at stake enough to have an informed opinion. I was worried, how can I, the self-appointed undercover thought-police not understand a simple legal discourse? When I tried to understand why, it occurred to me that it requires technicality and my technicality is in Health and Safety.

In my struggle, I realised I was sweating. Could I be suffering from a fever? I placed the back of my right hand on my forehead to check my temperature. It was normal. So why am I sweating? I discovered, there was no electricity but I have been too engrossed in my reflection to notice the air conditioner (AC) go off. 'When are we going to come out of this 'Oh NEPA' and 'Up NEPA' curse?' I wondered. I thought the current Minister of Power had promised us constant electricity within 6 months? 'Surely it is not rocket science,' he was quoted to have said. Moreso, the Vice President only recently said N900 billion has been spent by this government on power generation. Then why are we not enjoying 24 hours electricity? As I considered it deeply, I concluded that in Nigeria, electricity generation and distribution is surely rocket science. I also agreed with the words of the CJN that it is something that requires technicality and if the Minister of Power has any technicality, his technicality will only be limited to law, because he is a lawyer.

It has become clear that no past leader of Nigeria should be blamed for the failed government they ran. Running a country like Nigeria requires technicality. Abacha, Babangida and Obasanjo had their career in the Military, so their technicality were in combat and military tactics. Goodluck Jonathan was a University teacher, so his technicality was limited to Zoology and Fisheries biology. They have no technicality in government or political science and should therefore be absolved of any wrongdoing. Ha Naija!

But wait a minute. I worry for Nigeria. I worry because should we continue to hide our failures and ignorance under technicalities, we will never move forward. What we need is common sense to seek the common good. If we all do, legal, scientific, political or even economic technicality will pale to insignificance. James 1:5 says 'If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.' My prayer as I head to church this morning will be 'Oh God, grant me common sense that will trump technicalities.'

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

Saturday 20 July 2019

Landing is Mandatory

I was thinking this morning..... about the imperative of landing safely. Last Friday, I read again a joke that has been around for a while now. It talks about an Aeroplane cleaner that was cleaning the Pilot's cockpit, when he saw a book titled, "HOW TO FLY AN AEROPLANE FOR BEGINNERS (Volume 1). He opened the first (1st) page which said: 'To start the engine, press the red button.' He did so, and the airplane engine started. He was happy and opened the next page. 'To get the airplane moving, press the blue button.' He did so, and the plane started moving at an amazing speed. He wanted to fly, so he opened the third (3rd) page which said: 'To let the airplane fly, please press the green button.' He did so and the plane started to fly. He was excited. After twenty (20) minutes of flying, he was satisfied, and wanted to land, so he decided to go to the fourth (4th) page and page four (4) says; 'To be able to know how to land a plane, please purchase Volume 2 at the nearest book shop!' The joke ended with the information 'He will be buried tomorrow.'

As I smiled at the joke, the closing words of my colleague in charge of Aviation, while giving safety tips to leaders recently came alive in my head. He had said 'When it comes to flying, taking-off is optional but landing is mandatory.' Hmm! You can decide to keep moving the plane on the runway and not take-off, but once you are airborne, you must land, because no creature was made to live permanently in the air, not even birds. His point was that before taking off, all that is required for safe landing must be considered and put in place.

Many people have taken off in business, career and education of their children, but are challenged with how to land, because they had not thought it through before they started. In my years of travelling around the world, I have met too many Nigerians that have left thriving careers and business in Nigeria due to temporary uncertainty and 'ported' to Yankee. They enjoyed the initial flight but suddenly realised that they have to land sometime and don't know how. It may seem they are on cruise control, but really, they are at a loss as to how they will land. 'Taking-off is optional but landing is mandatory.' 

Only recently, I received an email from my children school of a 30% increase in fees from next session and wondered how many parents will cope. Won't this increase cause the educational flight of some children to crash land? I imagined. I must at this time begin to adjust. As schools are closing for the session and plans are being made for summer holidays, remember that September is only two months away where another round of school fees will be demanded. Plan now so you won't go a borrowing in September. Remember, Taking-off is optional but landing is mandatory. 

If you think about it closely, you will agree that the question really is not about landing because everything in the air will land, but whether it lands safely and in one piece. No wonder Philippians 1:6 says 'For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.'

Happy Sunday. 

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

Sunday 14 July 2019

University Education and Parental Sacrifice

I was thinking this morning....about University education and the sacrifices parents make for their children. As we took our seats in the bus after the boat ride, my colleague who had gone to pick his daughter that was returning home from the University for the summer break, asked if my children had entered the University. When I replied that they are at that point, he smiled and said 'Welcome to the club.' When asked how he was coping with four children in the University, his response was, 'It's not easy o. I had to cut off so many things.' Hmm!!!

His response got me thinking about the sacrifice my parents made to see me through University. At a point, things were so tough that my parents were selling off their priced possessions to keep all seven of us in school. My mum sold her precious Hollandais wrappers and some wrappers called 'Single' (still not sure why they are so called) just to pay our school fees. From my second year in the University, I was blessed to be one of the recipients of the Chevron Community scholarship for University students, where we were paid N300 annually. Believe me, that was a lot of money in 1987, a period when first year tuition fees at the University of Benin (Uniben) was N90. Compared to the school fees, the money seems adequate to meet my every need, but the challenge was that the needs of everyone in the nuclear family were serviced from this money. One particular year, I had other plans, different from those my parents had for the scholarship money.

I was in school when my account was credited. While everyone was waiting back home for me to send what was left of the scholarship payment, after paying my school fees, against the directive of my parents, I dipped my hands in the purse and did as my heart pleased. In order to pacify my parents, because I knew they will be angry, I wrote them this heart warming note, that read more like a telegram. 'Good morning. This is to let you know that I have been paid the scholarship money and I have paid my school fees. I wanted to send back the remaining, but my table fan was bad and I had to fix it. Also, I was forced to buy shirts (2). I had to keep back N90 for the remaining semester for feeding. I would've soaked o, but unfortunately my garri has finished. Thank you for your understanding. Your son...Weyimi.'

The letter aroused varied emotions within the family. While my parents were understandably angry, my siblings were amused, particularly with the part where I said 'I was forced to buy shirts' with figure 2 in bracket. The joke has been on me since then. Funny as it sounds, I will never forget the sacrifices my parents made for my education. Now I am a father that understands the value of a good university education. Some may wonder why we have to sometimes inconvenience ourselves to give them this education. The answer is in the words of Albert Einstein that 'Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.'

If we must exit the hole we are in as a nation, then we need a next generation that has been trained on how to think, not learning of facts and we must make the sacrifice today. Looking at our political leaders and the sacrifices their parents made, we can comfortably say that they only learnt facts, because when it comes to thinking, their minds seem not to be up to it. Proverbs 22:6 -'Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' Make that sacrifice for your children today.

Happy Sunday. 

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

Sunday 7 July 2019

Kiss of Love

I was thinking this morning.....about kissing. Please don't judge me without first hearing me out. The thought did not just occur to me because I am carnal. Far from it. It did because yesterday, 6th July was World Kissing Day, which I can bet most of you were not aware of. Why on earth should we have World Kissing Day? Don't ask me, I had asked the same question as well. National Kissing Day, also known as World Kiss Day and International Kissing Day, is a nonofficial holiday that is celebrated on July 6th every year. It is a holiday in which people are encouraged to pucker up and kiss the person they love. Wonders will never end.

World Kissing Day reminded me of a reflection I had recently about kissing. I have been attending wedding ceremonies for a long time but have in recent years been privileged to be offered front row seats by virtue of my position as a Pastor and at family events, as 'big bros.' This particular reflection was at the wedding, a couple of months back, of my cousin who happen to share the same first name with me. After the joining at the Warri South LGA registry, the groom was asked to kiss his bride. As he gently planted a kiss on the lips of his wife, I wondered where the 'You-may-kiss-your-bride' tradition came from and why it is practiced by the religious and non-religious. Why do we have to kiss our brides? Why don't they ask the groom to hug his bride or shake the hand of his bride or even carry her? 

Modern Anthropologists believe that kissing developed from 'Eskimo kissing,' which is actually the practise of rubbing noses to take in each others breath. This is also practised amongst many Pacific Islanders as a greeting, which has led to the theory that kissing is actually a testing of another person's scent to measure compatibility! Interesting, right? I was in Paris some weeks back and was actually fascinated by their culture of air-kissing on each other's cheek as a customary greeting. As I sat in this crowded restaurant for breakfast, I observed how many customers coming in air-kissed each other. Looked odd to me, but thank God, it's unlike Italy and Greece, where friends, both men and women commonly kiss each other on the lips when greeting each other. Yak! Way too intimate, I think. 

World Kissing Day! Do you know that we are encouraged not to be economical with kissing our spouses, because scientists say kissing is good for your health? Apart from the fact that kissing burns 6 calories a minute, they say a kiss actually transfers about 80 million bacteria between two mouths and introduces new bacteria to your body, strengthening your immune system in the process. They even said kissing relieves stress and can ease allergy symptoms. Really? That must be why Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat of Thailand decided to kiss for a lip-smacking 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds, between 12 to 14 February 2013. Now they hold the world record for the longest Kissing. God abeg o! That na achievement? Mtchewwww!

I am sure no Nigerian marked the World Kissing Day yesterday and I know that unlike the French that air-kiss, we shake hands and hug as a customary way of greeting. For those that pucker up and kiss their spouses, enjoy the health benefits. If you must kiss someone that is not your spouse, please do not be like Judas that betrayed his master with a kiss, but be in compliance with 1st Peter 5:14, that says 'Greet one another with a kiss of love.' Love is the essence. 

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey